improving engagement with coding challenges

How to Increase Candidate Engagement with Coding Challenges

How many of the coding challenges or technical assessments that you send out get returned?

Less than 50%?

Less than 40%?

The good news is that there are a few ways that you as an employer can increase candidate engagement with your coding challenges and tests for interviews.

The Challenge for Employers Offering Technical Assessments

One of the key challenges you will face during the hiring process is having candidates complete your technical assessment.

If your candidate is actively looking for a new role the chances are, they have been asked to do a number of tests or assessments.

These could range from a 1hr Q&A document to building a fully functioning app from scratch. (BTW we don’t advocate either of these types of challenge - Q&A won’t give you the depth of insight you need to make an informed decision, a monster challenge that takes a week to complete will very quickly get binned)

Being given 10+ challenges you are going to select an order in which to do them. There are a number of factors that are going to drive that order.

The lower down their list your assessment is, the lower the chances of hiring that candidate.

All that time you spent sourcing potential candidates and building up relationships is wasted.

With some simple messaging and demonstrating why your challenge is the one to take, you can increase the chances your assessment is returned completed.

Regardless of whether you are using your challenges or ours, whether you are using our review team or your in-house development team, there are some key benefits of the platform that you can use to your advantage.

Top Five Tips for Making Coding Challenges More Engaging

Here’s our top five tips on driving up the return rates of your candidate’s code challenges:

  1. Never send out a challenge without speaking to the candidate first - We learned this the hard way, as soon as we introduced an initial ‘get to know you’ call (N.B. not a ‘phone screen’ - it’s is a dreadful term) our return rates almost doubled. Engage the candidate and let them see what an amazing company they will be working at.
  2. Move quickly - Arrange get to know you calls, follow ups, code challenges, reviews, face to face sessions, final interviews in as quick succession as possible. If you don’t move quickly. someone else will.
  3. Explain that the challenge will be reviewed by a very talented developer, not a machine - Explain that the reviewer is going to spend 30-45 mins going through the code, writing up feedback (both positive and negative) and generate stats to show the candidate how they compared to others who have taken the same challenge.
  4. Peer review code challenges aren’t a one way street - You don’t get a ‘score’ or percentage. It’s not a case of ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. Once the reviewer has submitted their assessment the candidate can reply to the comments and explain their choices or approach.

    It is amazing how much you will learn about the candidate from this interaction.

    improving engagement for coding assessments
  5. Create Bespoke Code Challenges - Of course we have a whole selection of code challenges you can license, but to drive the best response rates you should consider creating your own challenge. We see increased candidate participation (and an increase in positive feedback from candidates) where the challenge makes you feel you are solving a problem or working on a project as if you were working at that company.

One of our clients (Skyscanner) has created a suite of their own bespoke code challenges. These challenges have really positive feedback from candidates. The challenge involves integrating to a flights API, incorporating Skyscanner branding and building a page that could be part of the Skyscanner app. This builds engagement with the brand and gives the candidate something more interesting to work on than trying to recall some algorithm they learned 10 years ago.

Bonus Tips

Because all Geektastic reviews are completed anonymously, we remove any unconscious bias. The reviewer is judging the code on its merits alone.

For further tips on creating code challenges we have written a few blog posts to help:

Want to license a code challenge to analyse the REAL skills of your candidates? TRY FOR FREE